Every gardener has at some point wanted to know how to kill aphids – the tiny pests that cluster on top of and destroy young shoots and flower buds. Roses are particularly prone to aphid infestations, but these insects can be found on other flowering plants, too.
Find out how to kill these pests quickly and naturally, without the use of pesticides that can harm your plants, pollinators, and wildlife. Then, for more garden ideas, head to our dedicated page.
How to kill aphids
You will need:
- A spray bottle
- Castille soap
1. Mix Castille soap and water in your spray bottle, using approximately one part soap to two parts water. You want it strong enough to form a sticky liquid that will coat the aphids, but don't use undiluted soap.
2. Shake well and let rest for about half an hour. Spray the mixture thickly all over the affected buds and shoots, taking care to cover all the aphids. Do this on a dry day: if it's raining, the treatment won't work.
3. Reapply every few days until the aphids are gone.
Top tip: You can also use washing up liquid, but we've found that nothing works as well as genuine Castille (try Dr Bronner's). Always use the unscented version to avoid damaging your plants.
How to prevent an aphid infestation
As with all other garden pests, prevention is better than cure. The best way to prevent them is by keeping your plants healthy – don't under or overwater, and make sure the roots of your plants are never allowed to dry out as this weakens the plant.